In Forrester’s annual report, the consumer search landscape is looked at in more detail, particularly in terms of what kind of search consumers prefer. This is quite an interesting topic as search is absolutely crucial for tourism organisations and destinations to be found on the web. How are consumers actually finding websites and what are consumer preferences in terms of search? These are core questions that tourism organisations need to be aware of, especially in the fast changing digital world (SearchEngineLand).
Consumers and Search
Consumers prefer organic search according to a study conducted by Forrester. In 2012, 54% of respondents found websites through natural search results through search engines such as Google or Bing, etc. This is an increase from the previous year. Besides preferring natural results, social networking sites were the second most popular resource. 32% of consumers are using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Linkedin and other networks for search purposes. Social Networks have actually experienced the biggest increase from previous years, indicating, that search is also becoming increasingly social. This development will be interesting to monitor over the upcoming years, as they might in the future even catch up with the popularity of search engine results.
Investments into paid search are still on the rise, although this research from Forrester revealed that only about 18% of consumers are actually using paid search ads for discovering websites. There seems to be a disconnect between investing in paid ads and consumer preferences. With regards to consumers’ preferences in terms of using links to fins websites, 28% of consumers stated they used links from websites to find other sites. This is quite an interesting finding.
In the future, tourism organisations and destinations need to be aware of consumer preferences in terms of search. Investments into paid search need to be thought through and be in line with overall marketing goals. Search is becoming more social, however, natural search engine results are still important. The important thing to consider is that it is the consumer at the center of everything, making it absolutely crucial for organisations to consider consumer preferences when planning any marketing activities as search is still a very powerful tool in tourism.
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